Commencement Speakers Analyzed at Smith and Announced at Albion, Austin, Holy Cross, Hope, Houston CC, LeTourneau, Sacred Heart, Simmons, Southern Maine, Southern Mississippi, Wentworth, Whitman

April 12, 2010

Thealexa Becker, a Smith College student, has analyzed the themes of 70 commencement talks that have been archived there, finding that in the first century of the college, the addresses were delivered by men who rarely talked about any role for the new Smith graduates after their graduations. When the men did reference the women they were addressing, it was -- until the 1970s -- generally based on stereotype. In 1955, Illinois Gov. Adlai Stevenson told Smith women about the advantages of being “wives and mothers.” And a few years later, James B. Reston, the noted columnist for The New York Times, called the graduates “gals” and “girls.”

The following colleges and universities have announced their commencement speakers:

  • Albion College: Doug Parker, CEO of USAirways.
  • Austin College: Kern Wildenthal, former president of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School.
  • College of the Holy Cross: Mark Shriver, vice president and managing director of Save the Children.
  • Hope College: Rob Pocock, an adjunct assistant professor of communication at the college and associate vice president of communications at Priority Health.
  • Houston Community College: Lisa Ling, a correspondent for the "Oprah Winfrey Show."
  • LeTourneau University: Walter L. Bradley, professor of mechanical engineering at Baylor University.
  • Sacred Heart University: Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports & Olympics.
  • Simmons College: Elizabeth Alexander, a poet and chair of African-American studies at Yale University.
  • University of Southern Maine: Phillip Hoose, the author.
  • University of Southern Mississippi: Rudolph Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City.
  • Wentworth Institute of Technology: Michael Maltzan, the architect.
  • Whitman College: Juan Williams, a correspondent for National Public Radio.

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